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Movie describes the struggle of nuns to sustain faith after mass rape

A doctor's notes detail how these much-abused women used their ordeal as a path toward God


Anne Fontaine, director of "Coco Before Chanel" and "Gemma Bovery," released her most recent work, "The Innocents," about a group of Benedictine nuns in Warsaw, Poland, raped by soldiers after World War II and the doctor who comes to their aid.

The film is centered on French Red Cross doctor Mathilde (Lou de Laage), who is stationed in a Warsaw clinic and is found there by a panicked Benedictine nun, begging her to come back with her to the convent. There, to the doctor's surprise, she finds a sister about to give birth and others in their final stages of pregnancy.

Mathilde, a nonbeliever, enters into the sisters' strict religious community, abiding by the principles of the order and Mother Abbess (Agata Kulesza). Fearing exposure, the women conceal the hostility forced upon them by Soviet troops, causing an inward battle between their faith traditions and their reality.

In the winter of 1945, mass rape occurred in major Polish cities taken by the Red Army. The nuns were not spared as soldiers rampaged through the convent.

Fontaine said that she was inspired to tell the story after looking through the diary of the French doctor.

This article continues at [The Boston Pilot] Film about Benedictine nuns turns a story of home amid darkness, says director

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